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Presentation in Turkish at an academic conference on Lausanne Peace Treaty not allowed

At the conference ”The Treaty of Lausanne: 90 years later – framing migration issues” co-organised in Komotini by the Programme on Education of Muslim Children (PEN) and Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) on 22-23 November 2013, tension has been high due to a presentation in Turkish. Having participated as speaker in the first day of the event, Evren Dede, journalist from Azınlıkça minority bulletin from the region, has not been allowed to deliver his speech in Turkish, though he had given notice to the organisers well in advance. In reaction to this, Dede left the conference and upon his request the Greek translation of his presentation “How does the Minority view the Islamic Family Law?” originally prepared in Turkish has been read to the participants by journalist Aydın Bostancı.

“Due to the fact that the invited journalist Evren Dede belonging to the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace was not allowed speaking in his mother language Turkish although the necessary permission had already been taken and interpretation was provided is scandalous in an EU-member country. This incident demonstrates again how far Greece is still away from respecting fundamental human and minority rights of the Turkish minority within its territories and her persistent denial of the Minority’s ethnic Turkish identity. Such an attitude of the Greek authorities will sure not contribute to the mutual dialogue and confidence between the majority and the Minority in the region. The Greek authorities should instead put an end to their denial policies towards the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace and rather work on establishing an enhanced dialogue with the Turkish minority.” stated Hans Heinrich Hansen, President of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN).

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